Oh, how the English media will have a field day today with Manchester City. They will cite their failure to deliver on their promises of success. They will point to comparisons between the axed manager, Mark Hughes, and the current incumbent, Roberto Mancini. They may even hint at a player exodus.
But is last night's failure to qualify for next season's Champions League a real disaster for Manchester City?
Let's examine the facts. Firstly, the issue of money. Whilst Sky billed the match as 'Cash Wednesday', the revenue generated from Champions League qualification would have been a mere top-up to the funds already available to Manchester City.- Man City 0-1 Tottenham
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Do we really think ADUG will be examining the bank statement to see if this failure will cost them? Is fifth place going to reduce the transfer kitty for Mancini (or whoever) next season? The answer in both cases is most likely 'no'.
Champions League qualification brings an additional cash windfall of between £30-50m, depending on your source. City have spent nearly £200m since the ADUG takeover, without even having European football to generate funds.
Manchester City are not a profit-making machine. They are a project to flex the financial muscles of their owners. They may not have had their way this time round, but this will not stop them building up and going for it again next season.
Is this really that much of a failure anyway? Last season, City finished 10th, a full five places and 16 points behind their current status. Yes, they have spent a lot of money in between these seasons, but that is still a massive improvement in a league where it is so easy to stand still.
They finished below Liverpool last season. Behind Aston Villa, Everton and Fulham. They even finished the season behind West Ham United. Failure would be to have made no improvement at all. Whilst they may have not reached the Champions League, they have secured Europa League football, which is more than they mustered previously.
Will a failure to qualify for the Champions League affect the type of players they can attract? Again, it seems unlikely. The likes of Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor both moved from Champions league sides last summer to a City team promising no European football at all.
Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry also sacrificed European football for City's riches and promise. Money talks in football and City will still be able to flash that under the noses of players they want. The very best in the world may have to wait, but their ability to attract players of real quality will remain undiminished.
Yes they may have lost out to Spurs this time, but expect City to come back even stronger next season.
Those writing City off as a failed project must beware; this is simply a delay to an inevitable rise to power and success.
- Sam Parker